Monday, May 24, 2010

My Introduction Blog: Hello to All!

Okay, I've been reading the syllabus in bits and pieces, and note that Assignment #2 asks for contributions to the Institute blog. An optional requirement recommendation is "to begin the exchange of creating a brief post introducing yourself and saying what you hope to take from the institute." I like options and fulfilling requirements so (deep breath) here goes. And I hope I'm doing this in the correct place!

My name is Nicki Yokota and I will be traveling from Southern California to attend this institute. I am really looking forward to meeting all of you! My education and training have primarily been in the areas of psychology and Marriage & Family Counseling, and I've come to teaching and Newspaper advising most unexpectedly over the past few years through a series of being in the right place at the right time. I have been the newspaper advisor for 2 years now and you can view it, the SMES exPRESS at

Here are the things I most want to take from this unique training opportunity at ASU:
  1. Responsibility: As an advisor with a publication by students for students, what are realistic responsibilties of my editors, the writers and the advisor? What can I do to prevent ending up doing a lot of the last minute editing, mangement, etc.?
  2. Organization: I want to learn how to make use of limited time. Newspaper is a one-semester class offered in the Fall and Spring. There is no Journalism program at our school. We meet 4 times a week in 50 min. blocks. It's hard to fit time for teaching, roundtable discussion, research and writing into the allotted time in order to meet our weekly publishing schedule. The students end up writing much of their work during the day or at home, and I end up doing a lot of editing and communication after hours.
  3. Grades: How to fairly assess grades (hard vs. soft pieces, voluntary vs. assigned work) in a class of students grades 9-12 with varying degrees of ability.
Nicki Yokota
St. Margaret's Episcopal School
San Juan Capistrano, Calif.


  1. Welcome, Nicki. Thanks for being the first to jump in with a post. In addition to what we'll go through in the classroom and labs, you'll have almost two weeks to seek tips on these and other topics from 34 advisers with all levels of experience. It's been fun for me to see how a network forms during the institute and continues for years after.

    Steve Elliott
    Arizona State University

  2. Thanks for the info, Steve. I'm trying to read everything that's recommended and come up with 3 topics to send you. Tried to incoporate what I read about blogging into this one. The tips were very helpful and it's true, coming up with a succinct but pertinent & attention-grabbing headline is difficult!

  3. Hi Nikki, I am traveling from Wisconsin, I am looking forward to meeting you

  4. Let's get together in our 'free time' to compare notes. I'm having a lot of the same questions/difficulties with my class, and hope to be better prepared for next year. One of the books that came in yesterday looks good: School Newspaper Adviser's Survival Guide. Nunn

  5. Hi Nicki. Thank you for posting. I will be leading discussions on the very topics you addressed in your first post: grading, staff management & organization. I look forward to meeting you and exchanging ideas!